Anna Pavlova stars in the 1916 silent movie epic directed by Lois Weber

‘The Dumb Girl of Portici’ – Lois Weber’s silent blockbuster on Criterion Channel

The first blockbuster helmed by a woman director in Hollywood, The Dumb Girl of Portici (1916), based on the opera by Daniel Auber, presents the legendary ballerina Anna Pavlova in her only feature film performance. It was not uncommon to cast luminaries of stage, opera, and other performing arts in movies as they evolved from […]

‘Shoes’ – Lois Weber’s landmark silent classic on Criterion Channel

Lois Weber holds an important place in film history as the first major woman film director in Hollywood. What’s often forgotten in that honor is the talent that gave her a successful twenty five year career making films for the major studios. Weber tackled on serious issues through her dramas, putting a face to the […]

‘Dawson City: Frozen Time’ – Film/history on Criterion Channel and free on Kanopy

Bill Morrison’s films straddle film history and avant-garde expressionism, mining the wealth of silent film history and exploring the abstract beauty of decaying nitrate film, a particularly volatile medium that breaks down over time. Dawson City: Frozen Time (2016) celebrates the “Dawson Film Find” of 1978, thousands of reels of film buried in the permafrost, […]

Asa Butterfield and Chloë Grace Moretz star in Martin Scorsese's love letter to the movies and his first PG movie

Martin Scorsese’s ‘Hugo’ on Netflix

Hugo (2011), Martin Scorsese’s first family film (it’s PG!) and his first engagement with 3D, is a love letter to the magic of cinema. Based on the novel by Brian Selznick, it is a tribute to early film pioneer George Méliès (played by Ben Kinsgley), a child’s adventure through a grown-up world of loss and […]

Black Film History Pioneers – ‘The Flying Ace’ on Netflix and Criterion Channel

The legacy of films made by and for African-American audiences before Hollywood integrated its casts is largely unknown to even passionate films buffs. They were rarely seen by white audiences in their day and were rarely preserved with the same dedication given to the maverick films of Hollywood. Netflix and Criterion Channel present over 20 […]

‘Two Knights’ and a ‘Mummy’ – early African-American slapstick cinema on Netflix and Criterion Channel

The legacy of films made by and for African-American audiences before Hollywood integrated its casts is largely unknown to even passionate films buffs. They were rarely seen by white audiences in their day and were rarely preserved with the same dedication given to the maverick films of Hollywood. Netflix and Criterion Channel present over 20 […]

Directed by James and Eloyce Gist

Black Film History Pioneers – James and Eloyce Gist ‘Heaven-Bound’ on Netflix and Criterion Channel

The legacy of films made by and for African-American audiences before Hollywood integrated its casts is largely unknown to even passionate films buffs. They were rarely seen by white audiences in their day and were rarely preserved with the same dedication given to the maverick films of Hollywood. Netflix and Criterion Channel present over 20 […]

‘People on Sunday’ on Amazon Prime Video

People on Sunday (Germany, 1920) is a delightful, effervescent rarity from the late silent era with irresistible bona fides. Not only did this low-budget 1930 German film influence a generation of filmmakers, it launched the careers of some mighty impressive talents who, as hungry young filmmakers, collaborated on this buoyant little portrait of a lazy […]

Yasujiro Ozu's 1932 silent family comedy 'I Was Born But.'

‘I Was Born, But…’ – Ozu’s cheeky comedy on The Criterion Channel

If all you know of Yasujiro Ozu, Japan’s national treasure of a film director in the 20th century, is the quiet restraint and rigorous simplicity of his sound films, then you only have half of the story of the director’s remarkable career. The artist called the most “Japanese” of Japanese directors was a voracious film […]

Anna Pavlova stars in the 1916 silent movie epic directed by Lois Weber

Silents Please: Lois Weber restored and ‘The Covered Wagon’ on Blu-ray

Shoes (Milestone, Blu-ray, DVD) The Dumb Girl of Portici (Milestone, Blu-ray, DVD) The Covered Wagon (Kino Lorber, Blu-ray, DVD) Lois Weber holds a place in film history as the first major woman film director in Hollywood. What’s often forgotten in that honor is the talent that gave her a successful 25 year making films for […]